Williams F1 has officially confirmed a title sponsorship deal with Martini, one that will see the iconic Martini Racing moniker return to Formula 1 in 2014.
Following weeks of speculation, the Italian drinks firm will revive its involvement in the sport as part of an agreement with the Williams team that will see it compete under the “Williams Martini Racing” banner in 2014.
“We are thrilled to welcome Martini to the Williams family and officially launch Williams Martini Racing,” said team founder Sir Frank Williams.
“Williams and Martini share a rich history in the world of motorsport, and the values of our two brands and our shared passion for racing make this partnership a natural fit. It will be great to see the distinctive stripes of Martini Racing return to Formula One once again in unison with Williams.”
Though the Martini Racing name and design has been present in motorsport during the decades since its formation in 1968, the deal with Williams will mark a return to F1 as a prominent sponsor for the first time since 1979.
The decision to return to F1 by joining forces with Williams comes after a positive spell in pre-season testing that has seen the Mercedes-powered FW36 identified as one of the favourites ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in just over a weeks' time.
The car topped the timesheets during the most recent pre-season F1 test in Bahrain with new signing Felipe Massa behind the wheel, while team-mate Valtteri Bottas was also competitive.
Martini Racing's motorsport roots can be traced back to the 1960's, but the name and design would receive greater prominence during the 1970s as part of its support to the Brabham and Lotus F1 teams between 1975 and 1979. Though Martini Racing's F1 involvement has been limited to minor sponsorship of the Ferrari team since then, it has nonetheless retained a visible presence in sportscars, rallying and touring car racing throughout the 80's, 90's and 00's.
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